Why Bad Reviews are Better than No Reviews avatar
Why Bad Reviews are Better than No Reviews

If your business has a lot of bad reviews online, you might as well pucker up and accept your kiss of death, right? Well, not necessarily. It might be hard to believe, but there’s actually one thing that’s worse than having bad reviews, and that’s having no reviews at all. Here’s why.

Bad Reviews Can Be Addressed

If someone writes a bad review online about your restaurant, saying that they had terrible service, for instance, it’s definitely damaging. It’s hurts, yes, but it’s healable. When you read a bad review about your business, the majority of the time you can do something to address it. If someone says your restaurant had terrible service, you can reply and say that you apologize and you’ve spoken to the server about the incident – or that you fired them. While people will read that bad review, they’ll also read that you cared enough to respond and try to do something about it. They’ll hopefully be impressed, and it’ll make you look better. Having no reviews gives you no opportunity to showcase your dedication to customer service.

Bad Reviews Help You Improve

When you read a bad review about your business, you’re learning about what your customers don’t like. When you know what your customers don’t like, you can try to change it, and then hopefully change their minds. Bad reviews help you improve your business. No reviews, on the other hand, give you no criticism to learn from. If someone has a complaint but doesn’t tell you or write about it, there’s no way you can know to fix it, and you won’t improve. Bad reviews can help you grow, while no reviews leave you stagnant.

Bad Reviews Generate Buzz

It’s been said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Most marketing and PR professionals will passionately dispute this, and usually they’re right – bad publicity can definitely be bad for business. But sometimes bad publicity really is good publicity. There’s no way to guarantee that bad reviews turn into good publicity for your business, but it can happen. Bad reviews can get people talking, and they’ll be talking about your business. Sometimes those bad reviews might just tempt others to find out for themselves, and you could inadvertently gain a customer or two or more – at least it’s possible. No reviews, on the other hand, won’t get anyone talking because there will be nothing to talk about.

Bad Reviews Put You on the Map

If people aren’t talking about you, it’s as if you don’t even exist. At the very least, bad reviews show other people that you’re a real business that has had customers, and something will come up if someone searches for you. Having no reviews online, on the other hand, makes you seem like a ghost, and people won’t be sure if you’re real or not. If they do find out that your business exists, more than likely they won’t want to risk trying you out when they have absolutely no idea from other customers of what to expect.

Henry Collins is a small business owner who works as a freelance writer when he has time.  He often gives advice to other small business owners about online review monitoring tactics.